Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Meeting American Wine Writer Paul Gregutt in Oregon, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Paul Gregutt at the 1. Oregon Pinot Gris Symposium

I knew Paul Gregutt from the Internet. I follow his Blog and in particular enjoy reading his column titled "Wine Adviser" in The Seattle Times. At the 1. Oregon Pinot Gris Symposium, I met Paul in person. Unfortunately, I did not have much time to talk with him. He is just too popular in this part of the world and the winemakers present were so eager to talk with him. But I was able to have a short conversation with him.

Paul’s book, Washington Wines & Wineries: the Essential Guide, is now in its fourth printing and is the authoritative guide to Washington State wine. About half a century ago, there was basically no wine industry in Washington State. And if wine was made, it was not with the noble European vinifera grapes. But the American wine boom that had its origin in California moved to the north, first to Oregon and then it also reached Washington State. In 1980, four years after Californian wines had out shined the French wines at the famous tasting in Paris, there were about 20 wineries in Washington State that were producing high-quality wines with European vinifera grapes. Today, there are more that 500 wineries.

Pictures: Paul Gregutt at the 1. Oregon Pinot Gris Symposium

In the beginning, white wines dominated. As recently as 10 years ago, 70 percent of the grapes planted were white grapes, with Chardonnay the No. 1 grape. But encouraged by the success of Oregon with its Pinot Noirs, the balance between white and red wine has shifted towards red; red wines now account for almost half of the wine production.

In general, if California’s wines are rich and powerful, Washington State’s wines are more crisp and delicate, reflecting its location much more up in the North. They remind me a lot of the wines I know from Germany. Although a relatively young wine industry, Washington State is now the nation's second largest wine producer and is ranked among the world's top wine regions.

After attending the 1. Oregon Pinot Gris Symposium, I spent a couple of days in Washington State. I had a memorable luncheon with Oyster Guru Jon Rowley in Seattle and visited Hightower Cellars, Pacific Rim Winemakers and Long Shadows Vintners, all close or in Walla Walla.

Paul also contributes to publications such as Vineyard & Winery Management, Yakima Herald-Republic, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin and the Spokane Spokesman-Review. Paul is the Northwest Editor for Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and has written the Pacific Northwest material of Tom Stevenson's annual Wine Report, as well as contributions to Decanter and Wine Spectator.

Finally, Paul is also a musician. In the evening after the 1. Oregon Pinot Gris Symposium, I had arranged to listen to Jay Somers, the owner and winemaker of J. Christopher Wines, who played that night with his group at the White Eagle in Portland. But unfortunately, Paul could not make it. Paul’s genre is acoustic/alternative/country.

Picture: Jay Somers, Owner and Winemaker, J. Christopher Wines, Playing with his group at the White Eagle in Portland

Paul lives outside of Walla Walla in the South East of Washington State.

Picture: Columbia River near Umatilla, on the Way from Walla Walla to Portland

schiller-wine: Related Postings

A Riesling Guru and a Killer Guitarist cum Cult Winemaker: Ernst Loosen and Jay Somers and their J. Christopher Winery in Newberg, Oregon

One of Oregon's Pioneering Winemakers - Myron Redford - with his Amity Vineyard Wines in Washington DC

Wine tasting: Soter Wines from Oregon at Out-of-Sight Wines in Vienna, US

Wine Tasting: The Pinot Noirs of Patricia Green, Oregon, US

The Excellent Wines of Ken Wright Cellars, Oregon

Meeting Bill Holloran from Oregon and Tasting His Holloran and Stafford Hill Wines

The Doctor Made a House Call - A Tasting with Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen, at MacArthur Beverages in Washington DC

Oregon Pinot Gris Symposium at Oak Knoll Winery in Hillsboro

Visit: Oak Knoll Winery in Hillsboro, Oregon

President Obama Serves a “German” Riesling at State Dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao

Wine ratings: Two American/German wines - Eroica and Poet's Leap - on Top 100 Wines from Washington State list for 2009

The Wines of Hightower Cellars in Washington State, US

The Wines of Abeja, Washington State

German American Wines: (1) NV Two Worlds Pinot Noir, (2) Poet's Leap Riesling and (3) Herrmann Wiemer's Finger Lakes Rieslings

The Excellent Wines of Ken Wright Cellars, Oregon

Meeting Joel Waite, Winemaker and Owner of CAVU Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington State

Visiting Long Shadows Vintners in Walla Walla, Washington State - Where Armin Diel’s Poet’s Leap Riesling is Made

Visiting Winemaker Steven Sealock at Pacific Rim Winemakers in Washington State, USA

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